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Friday, July 14, 2017

Lunch at Burma Superstar

Burma Superstar, San Francisco, CA
Burma Superstar is a restaurant in San Francisco serving Burmese cuisine. The contemporary name for Burma is Myanmar, and the food takes on influences from India, Thailand and China mostly because of geography. Burmese cuisine draws heavily on fish sauces and a fermented fish paste used for flavoring known as ngapee. The cuisine of Myanmar is complex and has many interesting flavor notes. Burma Superstar is a stalwart on the San Francisco culinary scene, serving food there for 25 years.

I had heard of this restaurant many moons ago and really wanted to try it as Burmese cuisine was terra incognita to me. During a recent trip to the area, I finally had the opportunity to dine here.

The restaurant does not take reservations, and the lines can be long. My traveling companion and I arrived there about 1 PM on a weekday. We were told a 30 minute wait. That was fine as I had not been to Clement St. where the restaurant is located in many years and it was fun looking around. This area is a Hot Spot for dining in the city.

Interior, Burma Superstar

The dining area is small, probably seating about 40 people. After getting seated, we were ready to sample some of the legendary food served here.

There are some menu items here that probably every food journalist in the area has written about till, well I don't know, the cows come home, whenever that is. One of them is their tea leaf salad.

Tea leaf salad, Burma Superstar
The salad base consists of romaine lettuce, dried shrimp, fried slices of garlic, toasted peanuts, sunflower and sesame seeds, jalapeno, fish sauce and lime. The dressing is made from fermented tea leaves, garlic, ginger, oil and vinegar and finished with a mixture of fried split pea and garlic. This was a very unusual and highly flavorful salad. It was excellent, worthy of being legendary and made me want to try more.

Mohinga, Burma Superstar

The next thing brought to the table was mohinga. This soup is billed as the national dish of Myanmar, and apparently is served for breakfast there. Another complex, and delicious dish.

The broth is made from lemongrass, ginger, bay leaf and catfish. The soup adds lemongrass, garlic, ginger, tumeric, paprika, red onions, fish sauce and rice noodles. The dish is finished with sliced hard boiled eggs, fried split pea crackers, cilantro, lime and red onion. Another intriguing and delicious dish.

Lettuce cups, Burma Superstar
We finished up with an appetizer, their lettuce cups. These were also great, sort of like Burmese tacos. Cured pork (marinated in soy among other seasonings) was mixed with pickled radish, carrots and water chestnuts. Another great dish.

The food at Burma Superstar is excellent and fully deserving of its reputation. San Francisco has a legion of food choices and there are many great, world class restaurants with 2 or 3 Michelin stars should one want. I thought the food here was very good to great, and would return even with all the other food choices available here. Burma Superstar has recently published a Cookbook which apparently is kind to the home cook inexperienced in Burmese cuisine. It's checked out at the library at the moment but it's on reserve and cannot wait to take a look. If you are ever in the city, go here. You will not be disappointed.

That's that for another post on Forks.

Burma Superstar
309 Clement St.
San Francisco, CA 94118

All major credit cards accepted; Lunch, Monday-Sunday 11 AM-3 PM; Dinner, Sunday-Thursday 5-9:30 PM, Friday and Saturday 5-10 PM.

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